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  5. "נישואין הם דבר רציני."

"נישואין הם דבר רציני."

Translation:Marriage is a serious thing.

July 10, 2016



why is נישואין plural? why is it הם and not הוא?


נישואין = נישואים

It is plural.


I'm not sure I understand you here. Does the singular נישוא mean something? Are you saying that the plural of that singular is the more masculine looking נישואים, but that נישואין is still grammatically a masculine plural?


This word doesn't have a singular.

נישוא doesn't mean anything

And the two words I wrote are the same, sometimes written this way and sometimes that way.


Thank you. I imagine, much like the English term nuptials, the singular may have had a meaning at some point that it no longer has.


Actually, nuptial is a perfectly valid and commonly used word.

In Hebrew there are many words that don't have a singular form. For example מים (water) and פנים (face). But in English there are certainly some words that signify a single object but are pluralized, such as "pants" and "eyeglasses"/"spectacles". With respect to this particular word, first off, the suffix ן instead of ם has to do with the Aramaic origin of the word. I suspect that the word has a plural sense because in Jewish tradition it specifically encompasses quite a few different components of the marriage process.

Here's an interesting article I found on the subject: (it's in Hebrew, great practice) http://goo.gl/1wmEZA


In the English I have heard spoken in the northwestern, northeastern, and north central parts of the United States, one does not hear the singular noun "nuptial." The adjective "nuptial" is heard, as in "nuptial blessing," and the plural "nuptials" is applied to weddings, but the singular noun is not. "Nuptials" is, of course, simply a substantivized adjective, and I suspect that "nuptial" as a singular noun might at one time have been used for a nuptial mass, but we now only use it in the plural form, I assume originally referring to all the events having to do with the wedding.


נישוי -means married:singular masculine נישואה- means married: singular feminine (I believe if there is plural...there's always a singular)


Is it possible that this originated as an Aramaic word, hence the ן ending?


It's possible..

Arabic too has the "-een" ending for nouns . Now, it all fits together.


Is there a plural of this already plural word (that would be "marriages" in English)?


Well, not formally. But it can be clear from the context (אֲנִי דּוֹרֵשׁ נִשּׂוּאֵי־יִתְרוֹן לִשְׁתֵּי בָּנוֹת שֶׁלִּי I require advantageous marriages for my two daughters) or made clear by attached pluralic attributes (אֲנִי נִכְשַׁ֫לְתִּי בִּשְׂנֵי נִשּׂוּאִים I failed in two marriages or לְמַעֲשֶׂה רוֹב הַנִשּׂוּאִים שֶׁאֲנִי מַכִּיר הֵם נוֹרָאִים in fact, most marriages I know are terrible).


There is definitely a reason for everything in this language. It is plural for a reason and this reason is worth searching out.

Perhaps, for now, "marital ties" is the way to go to get around the plural issue. Marital ties are a serious thing.


Well, originally the word is derived from the expression נָשָׂא אִשָּׁה, when you (as a man) take the bride into your household, which is different from the אֵרוּסִין betrothal (also a plural noun), which takes place some time earlier (with a virgin usually a year earlier). In my prosaic thinking I subsumed it into the category of abstract plurals like נְעוּרִים youth, סַנְוֵרִים blindness and בְּתוּלִים virginity, but maybe you can come up with a better explanation for these plurals used in judicalese terms.


Haha :) This is great. Thank you. BTW, I see here that we have a plural copula agreeing with the subject but not the latter part of the sentence...


Well, the rules for the זֶה group are different from the rules for the הוּא group as a copula...: רוֹפְאִים זֶה מִקְרֶה מְיֻחָד Doctors are a special case versus רוֹפְאִים הֵם אֲנָשִׁים מְתֻחִים Doctors are tense people.


אני מבין. מעניין.


This is awkward in English because נישואין is plural and דבר is singular. In English, these would be expected to match: Marriages are serious things, or Marriage is a serious thing. I'll bet this question scores a very high percentage of wrong translations because of this.


this is the part i don't understand. why "they is"?


It's not. It says נישואין הם (marriage is - or marriages are if you wanna be nitty gritty) דבר רציני (a serious thing)


They are saying (Israelis in the comments), that it's "they" because the word marriage (in Hebrew) is plural. Therefore it is "they" (plural) instead of singular to match "marriage".


Just to mention it somewhere -- in the vocabulary introduction picture exercises, I got two identical pictures with the different words of "marriage" and "wedding". Which could be confusing…


Yeah, there should be two completely different pictures - two people dressed up for the ceremony for "wedding" and two people in pijamas arguing who is going to wash dishes for "marriage"


Nisu’in hem davar retsini.


If you play it 15 times it'll start to sound like me swim


If "נישואין" is plural, then why is its English equivalent singular ("marriage" and not marriages) ?


It is like alms and feces. The form is plural, but it has no singular and denotes only one object or process (a "plurale tantum"). In the same way מַ֫יִם is simply water, and not "waters" or several kinds of water.


I don't understand this. Hebrew requires tense and number (singular/plural) to match, and נישואין seems female plural, הם for a single item (not mixed group) means male plural, and דבר is non-gender singular. How is this grammatically correct? Why not הן? Why not נישואים? Why not דברים?


Well, נִשּׂוּאִין is an Aramaic plural and indeed masculine. The Hebraized spelling would be נִשּׂוּאִים. I suppose, the word "marriage" was used much in Rabbinic writings, where Aramaic expressions abound, and so this form was retained in Modern Hebrew too. As "marriage" is a plurale tantum, i.e. technically a plural form for a single thing, you may call it a דָּבָר, like English "Scissors are a good thing to have handy."


Perfect example sentence to explain it. Thank you!


Best explanation yet! and so, when I plugged "water is a good thing" into google translate, I am no longer surprised by the answer, מים הם דבר טוב. Although allowing Google translate to be the arbiter for any sort of clarification is risky


Yeah, but they got that right ;)


Should be accepted: Marriage is something serious.?


Well, for something serious I would propose מַ֫שֶּׁהוּ רְצִינִי (or somewhat pedantic דְּבַר־מַה רְצִינִי), but I am not sure this really means something different.


I don't understand why it must be רציני, rather than רצין.


Does it help if I state that רציני is the masculine adjective and רצינית is the feminine adjective?


Hi DL, thanks. I think what I wasn't getting is that רצין also translates to "serious". So I'm not getting what part of speech it fits?


Well, I think Eliezwe ben Yehudah originally coined the adjective רָצִין after Arabic رزين serious, but the form רְצִינִי, which is a more typical Mishqal for adjectives, proved to be more popular.


the hebrew word for marriage is a singular noun. Why then is the pleural pronoun used, when it seems a singular pronoun should be used. Even more complicated, is that the adjective for "serious" is written in the singular. Marriage should be either singular or pleural, it can't be both.


Well, the word נִשּׂוּאִין is an Aramaic plural and used as the subject. The predicate is the singualar noun דָּבָר. You can combine a plurale tantum (a word which is formally plural, but expresses a singular thing) with a noun in the singular, consider English: Scissors are a good thing to have handy.

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